Kent officials broke ground this morning with Cleveland-based development partner Fairmount Properties on a $29 million mixed-use project key to the downtown revival efforts.
The groundbreaking represents several years of work toward building 185,000 square feet of new retail, commercial and residential space on city-owned land downtown. The project will take shape in at least three different buildings in the block bordered by Haymaker Parkway, Erie, South DePeyster and South Water streets.
Adam Branscomb, the Kent project manager for Fairmount Properties, said both FirstMerit Bank and Huntington Bank have agreed to help finance the project with Huntington responsible for the lion's share — close to $20 million.
Fairmount and its joint venture partner Premiere Development Partners raised capital for the remaining $9 million, which includes support from a Pittsburgh-based investor, Branscomb said.
Today's groundbreaking comes as the city and Fairmount work to meet a deadline of opening the first building, at the corner of Haymaker Parkway and South Water Street, by the end of 2012 for corporate tenant Davey Resource Group.
The 60 to 70 employees of the Davey Resource Group will relocate from Stow to occupy about 13,000 square feet in Fairmount's "Building A," which will rise at the corner of Haymaker Parkway and South Water Street.
Karl Warnke, CEO of The Davey Tree Expert Co., said the project represents Davey Tree returning to its roots after finding its start in downtown Kent before moving north to the city limits near Theodore Roosevelt High School.
"Davey's very, very proud to be one of the anchor tenants of this beautiful and progressive project," Warnke said.
The second corporate tenant, AMETEK, will move about 80 employees from its Lake Street facility to downtown. AMETEK will occupy about 40,000 square feet in Fairmount's "Building B," which will stand on Erie Street facing Acorn Alley II.
Matt French, vice president and general manager for AMETEK's Kent division, echoed remarks made by Kent State University President Lester Lefton about the sense of unity the downtown redevelopment has created in the city.
"He mentioned us becoming family," French said. "But somewhere during the process we became 'us.'"
The third structure, "Building C," will stand at the corner of Erie and South DePeyster streets and will feature a first-floor restaurant with residential space on the upper floors. A potential fourth building will rise just south of the residential complex and will line South DePeyster Street between Haymaker Parkway and the alley running east and west through the block.
The city and Fairmount announced 11 other tenants in the project in April. Those tenants are:
- Aladdin's, a Lebanese-American restaurant with one location in Hudson
- Bricco, a pub-style eatery with locations in Cleveland and Akron
- Dave's Cosmic Subs
- Panini's bar and grill
- Palmieri Salon, a branch of Dino Palmieri Salon & Spa
- Shop 42, a clothing boutique
- Asian Chao restaurant
- Nature's Table, a wrap and smoothie shop
- Einstein Bros. Bagels, a bagel and sandwich shop
- The Market Path, a locally traded home decor and retail store
- Rockin' Taco, a Mexican restaurant.
Branscomb said they recently added Yogurt Vi, a custom frozen yogurt shop that has a location in Legacy Village.
In the center of the block, the city will build a 115-space parking lot to serve the corporate employees for AMETEK and Davey. The development agreement requires Fairmount pay the city $30,000 annually for 15 years to pay for cover maintenance of the surface lot.
The lot will only be available to office workers at Davey and AMETEK Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The 115 spaces will be open to the public on weekends and daily after 6 p.m.
Both companies have signed leases committing to 15 years in the project.
The city and Fairmount's redevelopment block represents just one piece of downtown Kent's revival. Scroll down for a recap of recent stories on the downtown redevelopment projects:
- Kent Extends Downtown Development Agreement with Fairmount Properties
- Kent Courthouse Stays Downtown; Will Move to East Main Street
- Ball Keeps Rolling on Downtown Redevelopment Projects
- Kent Council Votes to Buy AMETEK Property on Lake Street
- Video: City to Buy Ametek Property as Part of Redevelopment Deal
- Video: Downtown Redevelopment Takes Big Step Forward
- State, Feds Approve Land Swap Key to Kent Redevelopment
Kent State University projects
- Construction on Kent State Hotel Could Start this Summer
- Esplanade Extension gets OK from Kent State Trustees
- Signs for Kent State Hotel to Be Reviewed by Planning Commission
- Kent State Foundation Votes to Invest in Downtown Kent Hotel
PARTA transit center
- VIDEO: PARTA Clears Transit Center Site in Downtown Kent
- Legal Snag Delays Transit Center Construction
- PARTA Spending More Than Expected on Transit Center Land
- Video: Groundbreaking for Kent Central Gateway Transit Center
- VIDEO: 49 Demolitions in Past 3 Years Change Kent's Landscape
- VIDEO: Sights and Sounds of Acorn Alley II Construction
- Condominiums at Acorn Alley Depend on Housing Market
- Plans for 'Acorn Plaza' Approved by Kent Planning Commission
- Laziza Will Have Outdoor Seating at Acorn Alley II
- Building Permits: More Acorn Alley II Build-Outs
- Building Permits: Acorn Alley II Build-Outs